Even though the BMI (Body Mass Index) chart is starting to take center stage these days with the current American obesity epidemic, this chart is not new and has been around for centuries. In fact, the BMI was developed in the late 1800’s by a mathematician, Aldophe Quetelet; who originally named BMI the Quetelet index. Without giving a mathematics lesson, the BMI, simply stated is a function of weight and height. Many times in the past friends and family have said, you’re not overweight you look good; that BMI calculator is not for “us”. So for years, I ignored the BMI (Body Mass Index) until a couple of years ago when I started studying to become certified to Provide Dietary Guidance. The more I studied the chart, I learned that there were a few missing things not compensated in the BMI calculation, such as bone mass, sex, age, ethnicity or even body fatness, so I guess that’s why my family was against it. Instead BMI only includes weight (both fat and muscle) and height. However, despite what many people feel, studies have shown over the years that there is definitely a correlation between the BMI number and body fatness, which makes it important to consider. What do you think?
Throughout the years, there has been controversy by physicians and other health care providers who question whether or not this number is a good indicator. But even with this controversy, majority of the health care professionals, feel that this number is a good indicator when determining a person’s body weight status. The following indicates the body weight categories for a specific BMI.*
|Category||Adults (BMI) kg/m2|
|Underweight||less than 18.5|
|Normal||18.5 – 24.9|
|Overweight||25 – 29.9|
|Obese||greater than 30|
*BMI Chart (2010 US Dietary Guidelines)
The traditional way of calculating one’s BMI is to use the BMI chart. However, calculating one’s BMI has gotten easier. There are a number of calculators available on the internet through sites like the Center for Disease Control, as well as available on mobile applications such as the “BMI Calculator” app available for the iPhone.
So, don’t ignore BMI, use it as one more tool in your healthy living tool box! Determine what your BMI status is and make adjustments if needed. But remember, only you and your health care provider can determine what’s best for you!
To learn more about BMI and specific details about the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, click this link http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/PolicyDoc/PolicyDoc.pdf.